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LU Social Science Reasons for Drug Use Discussion

LU Social Science Reasons for Drug Use Discussion


The high usage of legal drugs in America, including alcohol, tobacco, and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, can be attributed to a combination of factors, and it’s important to consider both individual and societal influences. The use of these legal drugs is not necessarily promoted by society as a whole, but there are factors within society that may contribute to their widespread use.

  1. Individual Factors:
    • Biological Explanation: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to addiction. For example, certain people may have a genetic makeup that makes them more vulnerable to alcohol or nicotine addiction.
    • Psychological Explanation: People often use legal drugs to cope with stress, anxiety, or other emotional issues. For instance, alcohol may be used as a way to relax or escape from problems.
    • Sociological Explanation: Peer pressure and social norms can play a significant role. If a person’s social circle or community has a high tolerance for legal drug use, individuals may be more likely to use these substances.
  2. Societal Factors:
    • Marketing and Advertising: The alcohol and tobacco industries, for instance, have historically invested heavily in advertising and marketing, which can normalize and glamorize their use.
    • Economic Factors: Legal drug industries are often big contributors to the economy, and this can influence both policy decisions and societal attitudes.
    • Regulation and Availability: The ease of access to legal drugs contributes to their high usage. They are readily available in stores, and regulations can vary from state to state, affecting usage rates.
  3. Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs: If illicit drug use were decriminalized, the impact on drug-related social problems could be complex. Here are two potential outcomes:
    • Positive Impact:
      • Reduced Incarceration Rates: Decriminalization could lead to a decrease in the number of individuals incarcerated for drug-related offenses, which could alleviate the burden on the criminal justice system and reduce the social problems associated with mass incarceration.
      • Shift Towards Health-Centered Approaches: It could enable a shift towards treating drug addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal one. This might result in more access to addiction treatment and harm reduction programs.
    • Negative Impact:
      • Increased Drug Use: Some argue that decriminalization might lead to increased drug use, as the removal of legal consequences could lower the perceived risks associated with drug use.
      • Challenges in Regulation: The regulation of decriminalized drugs would be a complex issue, and if not managed well, it could lead to problems related to substance quality control and distribution.

Two examples of the impact of drug-related social problems, whether legal or illicit, are:

  1. Health Issues: Excessive alcohol and tobacco use can lead to a wide range of health problems, including lung cancer, liver disease, heart disease, and addiction. These health issues not only affect individuals but also place a burden on the healthcare system.
  2. Crime and Violence: The illegal drug trade often fuels crime and violence, as disputes over territory and distribution can result in conflicts. Decriminalization may reduce some of these drug-related crimes, as it removes the criminal element from drug possession and use.

In conclusion, the high usage of legal drugs in America is influenced by a combination of biological, psychological, and sociological factors, with societal factors like marketing and availability also playing a significant role. The impact of decriminalizing illicit drugs would depend on various factors and could have both positive and negative consequences on drug-related social problems.

LU Social Science Reasons for Drug Use Discussion

Question Description

I’m working on a social science discussion question and need the explanation and answer to help me learn.


Why do you think Americans use so many legal drugs (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, and OTC drugs)? Does society promote extensive drug use? In reviewing the 3 broad explanations of addiction—biological, psychological, and sociological—which theory or theories do you think best explain drug use? If illicit drug use was decriminalized, what would be the impact on the drug-related social problems? Give two examples of the impact, good or bad, of drug-related social problems.

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